HELEN NICOLAOU Special to The Standard
This Autumn weather has been ideal for finishing up all the garden duties. Many of us have taken advantage of the clear days tidying the yard. With the colder nights, garden toads rely on the blanket of fallen leaves to survive the winter months. Leaving fallen leaves or adding them to our gardens will enhance the soil and protect overwintering beneficial insects.
As we look to a busy spring, the honey-do list grows longer over the winter. Nothing is more frustrating than starting a new season with dull and rusty garden tools. Let's check this important chore off the list. Pruners, shears and loppers need end-of-season maintenance to keep them performing at their best and extra care will prolong the life of your tools. Pruners should always be wiped clean with a damp cloth during the gardening season, and sterilize the blades (one part bleach to ten parts water) to ensure bacteria does not spread to other plants when pruning. Rinse with plain water, dry well and spray blades with boiled linseed oil or a silicone spray to protect the metal surface from rust and corrosion. Disinfecting wipes are handy to remove sap, bacteria and fungus for a quick clean-up when pruning during the growing season. Also, pruning and cutting with dull blades often damage branches, making them susceptible to disease. To sharpen hand pruners, push the file, specialized sharpening tool or sharpening stone in the same direction across the blade following the original bevel angle. Other tools such as hoes, shovels and knives can be kept sharp with a quick touch-up using a sharpening file followed by a sharpening stone. Always wear protective eyewear and heavy gloves when using sharpening equipment to protect against metal slivers. Check wood handles for cracks and weakening of seams, as weak handles can cause injury during use. Otherwise, a light sanding to the handles and using boiled linseed oil or furniture wax will protect the wood from water damage. Hang your tools to prevent nicks on the blades, and now you're ready for springtime pruning.
Tuesday, October 3rd: The Dessert Night Fundraiser was a well-attended and successful meeting. Thank you to all the members who brought in their delicious baking. Thank you to Paul Haydon from "Grow Wild Nursery" for his informative presentation. Paul harvests seeds, which he collects from local Indigenous plants. These native plants thrive when planted in their suitable habitats. The plants genetically have adapted to our various climate and soil conditions and have high survival rates. Paul stressed the importance of being aware of and not to plant invasive species as they are encroaching into forests and natural spaces, putting native species and wildlife at risk. Some of the top invasive species in Ontario are Wild Garlic Mustard, Strangling Dog Vine, Phragmites, Japanese Knotweed and Wild Parsnip, to name a few. Contact your municipality regarding the proper handling and disposal of invasive species. Some of our garden plants, e.g. ground covers, can be invasive and should not be added to home composters or disposed of in natural areas.
Gail Marie Cameron from Village Florist and Gifts, Nestleton, will be on hand Tuesday, November 7th at 7:30 p.m. Pre-registered members are looking forward to the "Fun Hands-on Holiday Season Swag Workshop." Please remember to bring your secateurs, gloves, wire cutters and any decorative items to add to your swag. See you there.
For more information on becoming a member, visit pineridgegardenclub.com.
Pine Ridge Garden Club, Where Gardeners Come to Bloom